tv Democracy Now PBS February 12, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/12/16 02/12/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> secretary clinton, super pac, as i understand it, receives $25 million last reporting period, $15 million from wall street. $27.verage contribution is i'm very proud of that. >> i debated then senator obama numerous times and stages like this. he was the recipient of the largest number of wall street donations of anybody running on the democratic side ever. now, when it mattered, he stood up and took on wall street.
amy: democratic presidential candidates bernie sanders and hillary clinton face off in the first democratic debate since sanders' decisive victory over clinton in tuesday's new hampshire primary. we will play highlights and get response from new york congressman gregory meeks, chair of the congressional black caucus political action committee, which has just endorsed hillary clinton, and jeffrey sachs, leading economist and director of the earth institute at columbia university. his recent article for huffington post is headlined "hillary is the candidate of the , war machine." then we continue our conversation with acclaimed writer ta-nehisi coates, who made headlines around the world's week when he said on democracy now! that despite his criticism, he would be voting for bernie sanders. >> if i could have anything, and this is across the board for any presidential candidate, i would have a greater acknowledgment of history in our policy. amy: all that and more, coming up.
welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. last night, democratic presidential candidates bernie sanders and hillary clinton faced off at a pbs-hosted debate in milwaukee, wisconsin. it was the first democratic debate since vermont senator bernie sanders' decisive victory over former secretary of state hillary clinton in tuesday's new hampshire primary. at the debate, bernie sanders drew a sharp distinction between him and the former secretary of state on issues of foreign policy by highlighting clinton's close relationship with another former secretary of state, henry kissinger. >> where the secretary and i have a very profound difference, in the last debate, i believe in her book, a very good book, by the way, in her book and in his last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of henry kissinger. now, i find it rather amazing because i happen to believe that
henry kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. amy: hillary clinton, meanwhile, cast herself as the candidate with more experience, and she deflected criticisms of her support for the iraq war by reminding voters that president obama picked her to serve as secretary of state. >> as we all remember, senator obama when he ran against me was against the war in iraq. and yet when he won, he turned to me, trusting my judgment, mike's rants, to become myretary of state -- experience, to become secretary of state. i was very honored to serve with him. amy: we will have highlights of the debate in response after headlines. the debate comes as the sanders campaign says it has broken its own fundraising record by raising more than $6 million in just one day. the campaign says it brought in more than on wednesday, the day average and the
amount for the day was $34. u.s. secretary of state john kerry and other world leaders have announced they've made progress toward a "cessation of hostilities" in the ongoing conflict in syria. the announcement comes amid a two-day meeting in munich of the international syria support group, whose members include the u.s., the european union, the arab league, china, egypt, russia, saudi arabia, turkey, and other world powers. the meeting does not include the assad government or any of the syrian opposition groups. a different set of u.n.-hosted peace talks that including the assad government and various members of the opposition were -- fell apart last week. during the meeting in munich, world leaders agreed to work to ease the fighting within one week and to allow humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas. syrian opposition spokesperson salim al-muslat welcomed the announcement. what's we welcome the effort of friends are making to relieve the syrian people. it must be for all syrians. we must see action on the ground
. once with the implementation, we will be ready for the political process. amy: the meeting comes as intense fighting continues in the northeast city of aleppo. the assad government, backed by russian airstrikes, has been carrying out an offensive on aleppo, syria's second-largest city, forcing tens of thousands of syrians to flee to the border with turkey. on thursday, however, the russian defense minister accused the u.s.-led coalition of also launching airstrikes on aleppo on this week. u.s. officials deny the allegations. in turkey, the offices of two daily newspapers have been firebombed. on thursday afternoon, attackers shot at and threw firebombs at the offices of pro-government newspapers. no one was hurt in either attack. pentagon officials say they've stepped up airstrikes against isil in afghanistan, launching about 20 airstrikes in the eastern region of afghanistan over the last three weeks. this comes after president obama expanded the pentagon's authority to conduct airstrikes against isil in afghanistan. meanwhile, the pentagon is sending 500 u.s. soldiers to helmand province in southern afghanistan to fight the taliban.
it's the largest single deployment to helmand since president obama declared an end to the u.s. combat mission in afghanistan in 2014. the deployment does not increase the overall troop level in afghanistan, which remains at just under 10,000 soldiers. in new york city, a police officer has been found guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 28-year-old unarmed african american akai gurley. in nypd officer peter liang shot 2014, gurley in the darkened stairwell of a brooklyn housing project. akai gurley was walking down the stairs with his girlfriend because alec later was broken -- elevator was broken. the officer first texted his union representative before making a radio call for help. on thursday, a brooklyn jury found liang guilty of second-degree manslaughter and official misconduct. he now faces up to 15 years in prison. he will be sentenced on april 14. after the verdict was announced, akai gurley's mother, sylvia palmer, spoke out. >> i was very happy with the
verdict. first, i want to thank god and then i want to thank the district attorney's office, the entire staff at the district attorney's office. they did an awesome job presenting the evidence to the jury and the court. i just want to say thank you. thank you to everyone for all your support. amy: in more news from new york city, public records obtained by the new york civil liberties union show the nypd has tracked civilians' cellphones more than 1000 times without a warrant since 2008. the aclu says the nypd tracked people's movements via their cell phones by using devices called stingrays, which mimic cell phone towers to obtain a cell phone's location at a specific time. the new york police does not have a policy guiding the department's use of stingrays. meanwhile, a new report says 70% of the world's population will have cell phones by 2020. the study by cisco systems estimates 5.4 billion people will own mobile phones within just 4 years time.
that's nearly double the number of people worldwide who are estimated to have running water by 2020. after 41 days, the occupation at the oregon wildlife refuge has ended after the remaining four anti-government militia members surrendered to the fbi. on january 2, the militia members took over the wildlife refuge in support of two ranchers sentenced to prison for setting fires that burned federal land. the ranchers later turned themselves in to authorities. but the militia members continued their occupation. for weeks, local residents and the paiute tribe, which has treaty rights to the land, have called on the militia to leave. on january 27, the fbi arrested militia leaders ammon and ryan bundy in a traffic stop that left group spokesperson robert "lavoy" finicum dead. this week, the fbi also arrested cliven bundy, their father at , the portland international airport, on charges of conspiracy and assault on a federal law enforcement officer during cliven bundy's standoff with authorities at his nevada ranch in 2014. in total, more than a dozen
people are now facing federal charges related to the oregon occupation. democratic lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would ban new coal, oil and gas extraction leases on u.s. public land. the introduction of the so-called keep it in the ground act in the congress comes after a coalition of more than 400 organizations have called on the white house to stop issuing new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans. a similar version of the bill has already been introduced in the senate by presidential candidate bernie sanders. thursday's introduction of the bill, which has 16 democratic co-sponsors, is largely seen as a symbolic gesture, as the house is controlled by republican lawmakers. in news from wall street, banking giant morgan stanley will pay $3.2 billion to settle a slew of federal and state charges that the bank lied to investors about the value of residential mortgage-backed securities, which played a role in triggering the global
financial recession that began in late 2007. this is the latest in a series of financial settlements by banking giants charged with lying about the value of the toxic mortgage-backed securities . president obama set up a working group in 2012 to investigate wrong doings in the mortgage market in the lead-up to the financial crisis. so far, this working group has led to bank of america paying out $16.6 billion, jp morgan paying out $13 billion, and citigroup paying out $7 billion in settlements. the investigations have not led to criminal charges or jail time for any banking executives involved. in news from flint, michigan new , emails obtained by the flint journal suggest michigan governor rick snyder told the department of environmental quality to withhold information about the results of lead tests for nearly a week as snyder's office tried to determine the best way to present the information to the public. the emails obtained though a freedom of information request
show that the department of environmental quality withheld the lead test results from genesee county health officials for at least six days. agency officials later apologized to the health department officials for the delay, saying the governor's office had asked them not to disclose the information until a scheduled press conference on october 8 of last year. this news conference was when snyder announced that flint would reconnect to detroit's water system. under the direction of an unelected emergency manager appointed by the governor the , city had switched the source of its drinking water to the corrosive flint river, which caused the city's lead pipes to corrode, spiking the level of lead in the drinking water. snyder's office has denied it withheld the information about the results of the lead test. in australia, two women hung from a bridge and unfurled a giant banner over a melbourne freeway reading, "let them stay," as a protest against the government's plans to relocate
267 asylum seekers from australia to detention camps on nauru. a group of asylum seekers who may be relocated include 37 babies who were born in australia, as well as 54 children, the majority of whom are now attending australian schools. on thursday, katherine woskett spoke out before she lowered herself down from the yarra bend bridge over the eastern freeway.
and i'm very proud of that. >> i debated then senator obama numerous times on stages like this. and he was the recipient of the largest number of wall street donation of anybody running on the democratic side ever. mattered, he stood up and took on wall street. he pushed through and he passed the dodd frank regulation, the toughest regulation the 1930's. so let's not in any way imply here that either president obama or myself would in any way not take on any vested interest, whether it is wall street or drug companies or insurance companies or, frankly, the gun lobby, to stand up to do what is best for the american people. [applause] insult thes not intelligence of the american
people. people are not dumb. why in god's name does wall street make huge campaign contributions? i guess, just for the fun of it. they want to throw money around. why does the pharmaceutical industry make huge campaign contributions? any connection may be to the fact that our people pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs? why does the fossil fuel spend hugey -- amounts of money on campaign contributions? any connection to the fact that not one republican candidate for president thinks and agrees with the scientific community that climate change is real and that we have got to transform our energy system? and when we talk about wall street, let's talk about wall street. i voted for dodd frank, got in the portman -- important commitment in it. in my view, does ago far enough. but when we talk about wall street, you have wall street and
major banks have paid $200 billion in fines since the great crash. no wall street executive has been prosecuted. amy: for more on thursday's debate and the overall democratic race, we are joined by two guests. joining us from capitol hill, new york congressman gregory meeks, chair of the congressional black caucus political action committee, which has just endorsed hillary clinton. and here in new york, jeffrey sachs leading economist and the , director of the earth institute at columbia university. he's the author of many books, most recently "the age of , sustainable development." his recent article for huffington post is headlines, "hillary is the candidate of the war machine." welcome to democracy now! congressman meeks, can you talk about the significance of the endorsements of the congressional black caucus political action committee?
>> it is, as we believe, the campaign is really starting as we move into states that are more reflective of america. it is important and significant that we have had two senators. when she was a senator here in the united states senate, had worked with on the house and on the senate side, who has been a partner, particularly, democrats in getting democrats elected so that we could have a majority in the house and in the senate. because whoever is the president, you know, president obama has substantial obstacles because no longer after the first two years did he have any democrats. the person that has been a partner to get democrats elected to the house and to the senate, the person who has worked to make sure that there is a difference in the country and has partnered with the cbc pack has been hillary clinton. we think it is important to get that message out so that -- that is what
we endorsed senator clinton yesterday. secretary clinton. amy: your very critical, professor jeffrey sachs, of hillary clinton. the headline of your huffington post fees, "hillary is the candidate of the war machine." your response? >> i think last night's debate was a terrific debate because it did clarify many different things. it also confused a few things when hillary clinton, for example, said that she negotiated the 2012 cease-fire. there was no cease-fire in syria. she was the reason why the cease-fire never took place then , because she has backed a cia-led attempt at regime change that has led to a bloodbath there. that is what i wrote about a few days ago. and on the domestic side, she basically said, i will change nothing. and i think that is really
sobering for those of us who believe in a progressive agenda. .he said, don't dream we can't do it. don't go with this guy, he can't make these changes. actually, tosad, just be campaigning on the grounds, "no, we can't." i think the fact of the matter is, we could a college a great deal. she is basically saying the status quo is just fine. when she said the bankers were still had no influence of the obama administration, it is an amazing statement because after all this big campaign support from wall street, president obama put in bankers and strong wall street supporters into the white house. and i remember in 2009, and i could go chapter inverse, that they absolutely treated the banks with kid gloves and that is why not one executive -- not only did not go to jail, did not
even resign -- after their banks paid tens, of two $200 billion of fines. administrationhe a did not go after wall street and this is been a problem of the democratic party for 20 years since president clinton brought wall street into the democratic party. amy: congressman meeks, can you respond? >> absolutely. you forget this country was on the brink of default when president obama came in. if you look at where we are today compared to where we were in 2008 when he took over, we are substantially better than we were. and senator clinton is not a one party -- when you listen to senator sanders, get rid of wall street and all of the problems of the world will be gone. well, there is still racism. there are still a number of things being worked on that this president has been working on. if you listen to the president and mr. sanders, he would be
better on race relations that barack obama, better on women issues than hillary clinton, better on humanitarian issues than ted kennedy. he is the only one and the only -- i mean, there's no one better than he. he can do it all. that is a dream. bedroom is not reality. i want to get things done. in washington, yet have a congress that is willing to work with a president. there has to be compromise. there is no absolute because you have different people with different viewpoints from different parts of the country and even different parties. the question that often comes is, do you get done something that you can accomplish or do you leave the status quo and do nothing? i think when you look at, whether it is health care, whether it is dodd frank, whether it is equal day for equal pay for women, whether you look at all of those progress is that was done under the obama administration that will be continued and improved upon
about the clinton administration, but nothing changes overnight. that is a dream of. if you are running on just a dream and not how you can do something, then i think that is misleading the american people. amy: professor sachs? >> conquers men, we agree on probably just about everything and practice, except for the idea that the status quo is were we want to be right now. and when hillary clinton says, oh, the total cost of my plan is $100 billion, people should understand that we have a nearly $20 trillion economy. she is basically saying, i'm not going to change anything. when we talk about foreign policy, we have a spreading war and she has been a leading agent of that spread of war from iraq .o libya to syria this is cia-led regime change that has led to chaos. and we need a different foreign policy. and that is why it is extremely important that people understand
what the underlying roots of this problem is. it is the military-industrial complex, and she is supported it all along. she has supported wall street all along. she is surrounded by bankers and bankers friends. larry summers back in the white house? no, thank you. not in my book. in 2009, he nature the bankers got their bonuses. i was on the phone with them saying, are you kidding? these bankers made all of these abuses. "oh, it is important let them have their bonuses. that is the rule of law,," he said. it is time to go up against these vested interest. talks when you look at the obama administration on foreign changedhe fundamentally our foreign policy with hillary clinton as secretary of state. prior under the bush administration when it was a go alone, no allies, no one working with us, that was the bush administration. what hillary clinton and barack
obama, when they came in, they became partners. in a globalized world, guess what? the united states has to work with other nations, has to make sure their coalitions and we are people together. and that is what hillary clinton as secretary of state did and president obama started working with coalitions. it used to be, old europe and we were calling people names and changing freedom fries from french fries. allies inwn with our the arab states. sitting down with our folks in central and south america, trying to work with a coalition of folks that is good for all of us. and in that, there is a give and take. you do share intelligence and try to figure out how to move forward. that is in the philosophy of the state department under hillary clinton and under president barack obama, which is a huge change from what it was previously. amy: jeffrey sachs, does that represent -- what not accurate. >> i tell you who she is set
down with, i would encourage viewers to go back to "the new york times a couple of weeks ago when they unveiled what many of us knew, which was the secret deal of saudi arabia and the cia to fund the destabilization of syria. that is who hillary clinton sat down with, with the cia and saudi arabia and the bloodbath that we have underway right now is responsible and it is the same -- >> talk to nato? >> is the same kind of the responsibility of going into take out the market off the and leaving the civil war and isis and libya. it is the same irresponsibility of going in to take out saddam hussein. this is a repeated military-industrial complex and the cia-led coup change and it is bipartisan by the way. amy: i want to go back to the debate last night in milwaukee when bernie sanders picked up on a point that hillary clinton made during last week's debate in new hampshire, that is,
clinton's admiration and his admiration for her, talking about henry kissinger. >> were the secretary and i have a very profound difference, in the last debate -- and i believe in her book, a very good book, by the way -- and her book and in his last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of henry kissinger. amazing,nd it rather because i happen to believe that henry kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. [applause] i am proud to say that henry kissinger is not my friend. i will not take advice from henry kissinger. and in fact, kissinger's actions in cambodia when the united states bombed that country, overthrew the prince, created the instability for pol pot and roughe to come in and
then butchers have 3 million people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. so count me in as somebody who will not be listening to henry kissinger. [applause] >> secretary clinton? askell, i know journalists for you do listen to on foreign policy, and we are get to know what it is. talks well, it ain't henry kissinger. that's for sure. amy: the significance of what bernie sanders raised, professor? >> he is raising the basic point that when hillary clinton says she has experience, her regime change, that is the henry kissinger mode of operation. it is to back the cia and the military-industrial complex for violent regime change. she has done it now three times that has led to disaster -- a rack, libya, and syria.
no responsibility. most of it is secret except when "the new york times" is a little bit of public window to what is happening. that experience is a dreadful experience, and it is a significant mark against her candidacy. amy: gregory meeks? >> let's go back to libya. i don't know -- not amy: could you respond on this issue of using henry kissinger as an example? a member of the foreign affairs committee, i talked all people, especially if somebody has an expert piece in one area or another so i can dissect and determine what happened and what has happened in the past, utilize advice, taken/takeout. i talked all because that is the best way for me to make a decision as opposed to just leaving someone out. if i was going to be or was appointed secretary of state, i think i would talk to as many secretaries of state that were alive to get from them what they
did, when they did it, advice -- similar to when you have a transition team. even if it is a different party, you talk your former colleagues to find out what they did and how they did it. and sometimes, you might find a bit of advice you could utilize and some you may not. i think what she was talking about was that, for example, one of those things that was important was the opening up of the relationships and dialogue with china. it was extremely important. just as mr. sanders admitted as it is same thing, huge difference when we talk and open up a dialogue with cuba. and we would want to make sure those kinds of things are happening. amy: on that issue of china that hillary clinton raised, how important henry kissinger was. bernie sanders replied that it was about off shoring jobs, companies moving to china, jeffrey sachs. >> i think the problem for hillary is she has a record. she is a foreign-policy record
which is not an enviable one, and a domestic record of going with the special interests. amy: we're going to take a break and come back for another five minutes and then i know commerce member meeks has to leave. this is democracy now! we're talking to the chair of the congressional caucus committee,ction gregory meeks, and jeffrey sachs, a professor at columbia university. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "we want the airwaves" by the ramones. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. our guests are columbia university besser, leading economis jeffrey sachs, here in new york, and joining us from the capitol rotunda, commerce member gregory meeks of new york. he is just the congressional black caucus political action committee, which has just endorsed hillary clinton. can you talk about this endorsement? a lot of headlines have got it wrong thing the cbc, the congressional black caucus endorsed, but it is the congressional black caucus pac.
and one of the members of the congressional black caucus, commerce member keith ellison, said or tweeted the congressional black caucus has not endorsed in presidential polls the separate cbc pac endorsed without input, including from me. yet a follow-up tweet saying -- can you responded that? >> absolutely. me apologize to the professor, i think i referred to him as "lee." the congressional black caucus this not ever endorse in any race at anytime because it is a composite group that can conclude and does include republicans as well as democrats. it is a nonpolitical entity that just focuses up on legislation.
the political wing of the congressional black caucus is a congressional black caucus political action committee. it is the only group of the congressional black caucus that c4 and it doesn't engage in political actions. it has a board. the board considers as part of its consideration where the are in the political black caucus. for example, in this race, did not only -- not only did we not know and have a prior long-standing working relationship and partnership with senator clinton and making sure we moved democrat and democracy forward in a progressive way, it is also the -- and was senator sanders, who is an independent , caucusesdemocrat
with us, but has not gone out to partner with us to elect democrats. that is what the process is, the same as a progressive as i understand -- let me -- >> they endorsed -- amy: let me ask you, about whatlee fang wrote in the intercept. "members of the cbc pac board include daron watts, a lobbyist for purdue pharma, the makers of highly addictive opioid oxycontin; mike mckay and chaka burgess, both lobbyists for navient, the student loan giant that was spun off of sallie mae; former rep. al wynn, d-md., a lobbyist who represents a range of clients, including work last year on behalf of lorillard tobacco, the makers of newport cigarettes; and william kirk, who lobbies for a cigar industry trade group on a range of tobacco regulations. and a significant percentage of the $7,000 raised this cycle by the cbc pac was donated by white lobbyists, including vic fazio,
who represents philip morris and served for years as a lobbyist to corrections corporation of america, and david adams, a former clinton aide who now lobbies for wal-mart, the largest gun distributor in america." that is what lee fang wrote at the intercept. >> it also groups labor groups, labor organizations, includes the whole scenario of individuals here in washington. i think that is the point that hillary clinton was making last night. we and the congressional black caucus have to raise money, so he tried to race to elect folks, at how thelook congressional black caucus votes, it is clear no one can say that they don't vote in a very progressive way. amy: that is the congressional black caucus, but what lee fang is describing is the cbc pac. >> and the members -- and their congressional black caucus members -- it is not -- it is a
balance of members and others to raise money. there are a number of members that you heard from like senator richmond yesterday, like terri butterfield.gk i can go on and on about other members that are on that board. i am the chair. look at the cbc members that are on their and how we vote and how the candidates that we support the how they vote. they all vote in a very progressive way. so to say the money that we raise will cause us or cause the cbc or members of the cbc -- because 41 out of 46 cbc members have endorsed senator clinton. and to say that that money has caused us to vote other than what or how we represent our communities, is simply not true. look at how we vote. amy: they are talking about the congressional black caucus pac, the political action committee.
professor sachs? >> with the money means we will vote differently they indicate, and it does not. reporting.t is great your clarifying something that confused a lot of us in the last day. we could not understand how progressives like keith ellison, great congressman, would suddenly make this endorsement when progressives know that hillary clinton has been part of this lobbying machine for years and years. and i think you have helped us to understand this morning something i did not realize, which is what this endorsement have and how the lobbyists completely infiltrated this process. because that is what bernie sanders is talking about every day. our politics have been corrupted by the money, which is pervasive. and it is the big health insurers, wall street, the military-industrial complex, and that is why our policies are so bizarre, what we have the most
expensive health care system in the world. bernie sanders wants to address that. why we are in constant war, because we have the military-industrial complex constantly pushing this. why we have a destabilized financial system, because wall street is pumping in money and not true what hillary clinton said yesterday that they have taken care of the bankers. they let the bankers have a free ride on all of this after this massive collapse in 2008. and we have financial stability every day now. morgan stanley paying the billions in fines? there one of the biggest backers of hillary clinton. they are near the top of the list, actually. this is what is wrong with our system. the money is everywhere in this politics, except bernie sanders saying, stop, we have to have democracy again. amy: commerce member meeks, we started with you, so we end with you -- the problem with the money that got into the system is not because of the members. if you look at citizens united, if you took all the money and
again, and everybody in the congressional black caucus or the pac would love to get the money out of the game. election isthe important. three supreme court justices are on the line. how you get the money is in the citizens united. amy: we will leave it there, commerce member gregory meeks, democrat from new york, from the political black caucus committee, and jeffrey sachs, leading economist, director of the earth institute at columbia university, author "the age of of many books. his latest "the age of sustainable development." , his recent article for huffington post "hillary is the , candidate of the war machine." when we come back, ta-nehisi coates part 2. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders. coates had previously penned a widely read article criticizing the vermont senator for saying he did not support reparations for slavery because it was too divisive an issue. but on wednesday, ta-nehisi coates told me he is voting for senator sanders anyway. >> one can say senator sanders should have more explicit antiracist policy within his racial justice platform, not just more general stuff, and still cast a vote for senator sanders and feel senator sanders is the best option that we have in the race. but just because that is the you're going to vote for, doesn't mean you have to agree with everything they say. amy: will you be voting for senator sanders? >> i will be voting for senator sanders. i try to avoid this western, but yes i will be voting for senator sanders. i try to avoid that because i want to write as a journalist, you know, and separate that from my role as, i don't know, a private citizen. but i don't think much is accomplished by ducking the question. yes, i will vote for senator sanders. amy: after his appearance was picked up by news outlets, from
cnn and msnbc to the new york times, to the baltimore sun and many other outlets, ta-nehisi coates published a follow-up for the atlantic titled "against endorsements." he wrote that he answered my question about his decision to vote for sanders because -- "i've spent my career trying to get people to answer uncomfortable questions. indeed, the entire reason i was on the show was to try to push liberals into directly addressing an uncomfortable issue that threatens their coalition. it seemed wrong, somehow, to ask others to step into their uncomfortable space and not do so myself." ta-nehisi coates also wrote -- "my answer has been characterized, in various places, as an 'endorsement,' a characterization that i'd object to. despite my very obvious political biases, i've never felt it was really my job to get people to agree with me." we turn now to part two of my conversation with ta-nehisi coates, whose book "between the world and me" won the national book award. he recently moved to paris with his wife and son samori.
in part two of our conversation, i asked him what it's like to live in france. >> to be honest, the biggest influence it is had on me just in terms of senator sanders, to be in a country which has much better social protections than we have here, much stronger safety net than we have here. and to meet with black people over there, to meet with, you know, african-american people over there -- maghrebin people over there, and to see that even with all of those -- you know, that expansive safety net that they have that's so much stronger than ours, it hasn't cured racism. you know? not only has it not cured racism, in many ways, you know, folks are struggling with the vocabulary of how to talk about it. you know, maybe curing racism is too high of a bar. but to see that it actually remains an issue, that the idea of identity across western europe -- in fact, not just in france, across western europe, in germany, because, you know, when you see these sort of issues with the "refugee crisis" and everything, it's actually the same thing. it's very, very much the same
thing -- a continent that is becoming browner and struggling with the idea of who's going to actually be protected by these safety nets. i'm really early in the process of learning about this. but it's very, very clear that the united states is not necessarily different, you know, in terms of the issues it's dealing with. amy: you know, we were just in paris for the u.n. climate summit, and it was right after the attacks of november 13 -- >> yes, yes. amy: the state of emergency that was imposed, no protests and everything. and then immediately the authorities started raiding homes, businesses, mosques, thousands of them. the treatment of the arab community in france? >> it is brazen. you know, it's tremendously, tremendously brazen.stice over there, christine taubira, just resigned because they are passing a law to strip you of your citizenship, you know, should you be convicted of a terrorist act. it is -- you know, one of the cases i tried to make in the book was this notion that -- you know, the idea that racism necessarily follows from race is
in fact backwards. people decide to do something, there's a relationship that exists, and then people are cast in a certain way. and i have to tell you, you know, again, just being at the beginnings of seeing this, just being at the start of experiencing it, i really feel like i can see it there. you know, france has a particular relationship with its colleagues. it's passed colleagues. it has a particular relationship with algeria. it has a particular relationship with west africa. and that casts so much about how folks see each other. you know, so when i'm somewhere and i speak in my horrible french accent, you know, which automatically signals i'm an american, you know, the reaction is very, very different. you know, the way i'm treated is very, very different. what i'm saying is it's a result of a system that's already in place, beliefs that are there. it's not just a matter of looking at somebody and deciding you don't like them. amy: the recommendation on your book is by tony morrison -- if you're going to read one book, read this. and she talks about the hole that was left when james baldwin
died, and she feels that has now been filled by you, ta-nehisi. and, of course, james baldwin also went to france. what is it about france? >> you know, i have no idea. that's the one -- you know, i can speak about how baldwin influenced me in terms of just his bravery, his courage, you know, in terms of him really being willing to go out on the edge, you know, the ledge, in terms of his political imagination. i can speak about him as a beautiful, beautiful writer and a beautiful craftsman of sentences. but in terms of france, it's very, very hard. and i think it's because i went through a different route. you know, i went through a more family route. my wife fell in love with the country, really wanted the family to spend more time there. and so, it wasn't, in that sense -- you know, certainly in between the world and me, but in that specific sense, i wasn't so much chasing baldwin. however, i may have a different answer in 10 years, because maybe there's something about that that's working on a larger level. i just -- i don't particularly see it right now. amy: and what is it like? if you could say a little more about what it's like to look at the united states from france, particularly these elections?
i mean, you're not getting the same 24-hour -- >> no. amy: cable network -- >> no. amy: inundation. >> no. amy: one of the classic images just in the last 24 hours, you had chris christie at a town hall in new hampshire, and they actually play a clip of this. it's not usually substance it's , all polls. and a woman says, "i don't know who i'm going to vote for. i'd like to vote for you. but i need to know what you're going to do about social security." and he gets down on his knee to beg her to vote. so at the point where he gets down on his knee to say, "please, i want your vote," before he answers the question, that's when they cut away. and they don't talk about his answer to what he's going to do about social security. they talk about the kneeling part. >> wow. amy: and we never know the content of what these people actually stand for. >> wow, wow. amy: but you have -- so how do you absorb what's happening there? >> well, in some respects, what it makes you realize is how little actual information is being conveyed, because, you're right, you know, i don't have the same sort of inundation anymore.
and i think maybe i'm a better person for it. you know, just being able to look away for a little while, i think, has been really, really, really good. i am not surprised that, you know, you ultimately don't get the content answer in that situation. but for me, for my own personal health, i think following this -- i went through this in 2008 a little too closely -- too much can actually be unhealthy. so i'm happy to have something else to do. amy: i wanted to play for you a clip of hillary clinton, also at the iowa -- >> sure. amy: black and brown presidential forum last month, when they were asked about reparations. she was asked by an audience member about what the term "white privilege" meant to her. >> it is hard when you're swimming in the ocean to know exactly what's happening around you, so much as it is when you're standing on the shore perhaps watching. for me, you know, look, i was born white, middle-class in the middle of america. i went to good public schools.
i had a very strong, supportive family. i had a lot of great experiences growing up. i went to a wonderful college. i went to law school. i never really knew what was or wasn't part of the privilege. i just knew that i was a lucky person and that being lucky was in part related to who i am, where i am from and the , opportunities i had. amy: your response, ta-nehisi, to what hillary clinton said? >> that's about right. i think she was trying her best there. i think what is notably absent from that answer is history. it is not simply that hillary clinton had fairer skin and, you know, lighter hair, and therefore certain things were conferred upon her. systems were in place. long, ancient historical systems were in place to make her, as
she said, lucky in the first place. if i could have anything -- you know, and this is across the board for any presidential candidate -- i would have a greater acknowledgment of history in our policy and in our affairs. and i don't mean, you know, a dry historical lecture. but it could have taken 30 seconds for her to maybe explain why she was a little luckier than other folks. it's not that hard to understand. it's not that hard to know. i'm not familiar particularly with hillary clinton's neighborhood, but i wish people were a little bit more curious about what we call privilege and about why it's there. black people in this country have no choice but to be curious. we have to know. i wish folks would do a little bit more investigation. amy: ta-nehisi coates, the issue overall in this country around the discussion of race, do you feel -- how do you feel the black lives matter movement has changed things? very interestingly, we had a
the board. i have to say, even in my position on senator sanders in terms of reparations, they saw some things before i saw them. i didn't write this, you know, and i wouldn't have written this, but like a lot of other people, when i saw the interrupting of his platform, i didn't quite get it, i didn't quite understand it. and it was only in the course of, you know, working on the stuff that i've worked on in the past few weeks related to senator sanders that i came to understand in greater detail their frustrations. amy: were you surprised by the pushback that you got after writing this piece? >> yeah, a little bit. a little bit, i was. but it's been a great opportunity, you know? i have been extremely, extremely fortunate, in the sense that i feel like i've been saying the same sort of caliber of things for the past 10, 15 years now, but i have been lucky enough to get a platform at the atlantic that makes people pay attention to things that, were i writing in other well-respected platforms that may be a little to the left, the same amount of attention would not be granted.
and so, yeah, i was a little surprised, but i plan to take as much advantage of it as i can to push this conversation about racism and white supremacy as close as i can to the forefront. that's why i'm here. amy: so let me ask you about two other issues. one is bill cosby. on tuesday, kanye west took to twitter to defend bill cosby, who's been accused of sexually assaulting and drugging over 50 women. west tweeted an all-caps, three-word message, that's since generated much social media debate. those words -- "bill cosby innocent." so, ta-nehisi coates, you wrote an article called "bill cosby , and his enablers." "even victims of discrimination can look away from -- and thereby enable -- other forms of violence." lay out your article for us. >> well, i mean, we've seen numerous celebrities, african-american celebrities, and to some extent, you know, a relatively large amount of people within the african-american community who automatically disbelieve this. and what folks will tell you is there is a long history of
american forces conspiring against african americans, and that's certainly true. you know, you can look at the history of paul robeson, martin luther king, malcolm x, whoever. nevertheless, nevertheless, you know, that can't be an explanation for not applying one's critical faculties. and racism is not the sole power vector at work in the united states of america, just like, you know, as i was making the case with senator sanders, class is not the sole power vector at work in the united states of america. and so when you have over 40, 50 women coming forth, a lot of them with stories that are remarkably similar about what happens to them, it takes some sort of, i don't, particular mindset to say, "oh, no, all of them are lying. all of them are in conspiracy." and i think that is related directly to that other power vector of sexism, which has historically been very, very, very strong. and so i think that that can't be ignored. and the fact that somebody has a boot on your neck, the fact that
you, too, are a member of an oppressed class does not mean that you, too, can't, in some sense, cooperate with the oppression of other people. amy: and, of course, many of the women are african-american. >> and that's true. and that's true. that's exactly true, yes. amy: and finally, looking at this country from your perch in paris right now, but also being here, the whole issue of the oscars that are coming up, the academy awards. a growing number of actors and filmmakers pushing for a boycott of the oscars after no actors of color were nominated for a second year in a row -- in no category -- supporting actress/actor, best actor/actress and director -- was there an african american named. while movies about african americans, like "straight outta compton" and "creed," received nominations, they went to the white writers of "straight outta compton" and white actor sylvester stallone for "creed." the african-american directors and nonwhite actors were excluded. director spike lee, actress jada pinkett smith, actor will smith
-- who actually starred in "concussion," was not given an oscar nod and others have said they plan to skip the oscars. last month, spike lee appeared on "good morning america." >> i have never used the word "boycott." all i said was my wife, my beautiful wife tonya, we're not coming. that's it. then i gave the reasons. so i've never used the word "boycott." i never have said to anybody -- it's like, do you. we're not coming, not going. this whole academy thing is a misdirection play. >> ok. how? >> we're chasing the guy down the field. he doesn't even have the ball. the other guy is high-stepping in the end zone. it goes further than the academy awards. it has to go back to the gatekeepers. >> the studios. >> yes. >> have you seen "hamilton" yet? >> i have seen "hamilton." unbelievable. >> you know the song, "you've got to be in the room"? we're not in the room.
we are not in the room. the executives, when they have these greenlight meetings, quarterly, where they look at the scripts, they look at who's in it, and they decide what we're making, what we're not making. >> how about your own experience? you make your movies. do you feel like you've been snubbed, like you haven't had a fair hearing? >> what won best film 1989? >> i don't know, actually. >> "driving miss f-in' daisy." >> and which film did you have in 1989? >> "do the right thing." that film is being taught in colleges, schools, all -- no one's watching this "driving miss daisy" now. so it also shows you that the work is what's important, because that's the stuff that's going to stand for years, not an award, not whether it be a grammy, a tony or whatnot. >> so even if you don't get the oscar, there is some success, but there's still a huge problem in the whole studio system. >> from top to bottom. amy: that was spike lee being interviewed by george stephanopoulos on abc. we were at sundance. we interviewed dawn porter, the documentarian, stanley nelson. they're both supporting a
boycott. spike lee's just not going. your response to all of this? >> actually, there's a lot of wisdom in all of that. you know, i -- this is personal; this is not, you know, a grand political statement. i appreciate the not using the terminology "boycott" and going for the "listen, do you. i'm staying home. just out of, you know, personal pride, i'm just going to stay home. i just don't have to stand for that." and i think he's exactly right, because what he was pointing to, when he was talking about being in the room, was systemic issues. in other words, by the time you get to an -- and, you know, you begin to see formulas across the whole -- the entire system in terms of racism. and one of the things is, people shout, and everybody gets upset by the time you get to the end result, which in this case is the oscars. but what spike is saying is there's like five other things that happen before that, you know. amy: to see part one of our conversation with ta-nehisi coates, the national book award winner, you can go to democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now!
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